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Hala Gorani Tonight

Olympic Games Show Director Fired Ahead of Opening Ceremonies; China Rejects New W.H.O. Investigation; Delta Variant Brings New Wave of Infections to Israel; Vaccine Inequity Undermines Global Economic Recovery; Floods in China Kill at least 33; The Unvaccinated in Italy Facing Major Restrictions; Travel Host Rick Steves on European Tourism. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 22, 2021 - 14:00   ET



CYRIL VANIER, CNN HOST: And hello everyone, live from CNN London, I'm Cyril Vanier in for Hala Gorani. Tonight, hours ahead of the opening ceremonies,

the Olympic games' show director is fired. How is the chaos impacting athletes? I'll ask an American Olympic triple jumper.

Then, a flat refusal. China will not work with the World Health Organization's plan to investigate the origins of COVID. And later, sight-

seeing in the pandemic era. I will speak to TV host and professional travel expert Rick Steves about when and how and where he plans to get back into


Just hours to go before the Tokyo Olympics officially kick off. But the whole event continues to be bogged down by COVID-19 and now also by

controversy. Sad, empty stadiums unfortunately reflecting what's happening in Japan's capital city. Tokyo reporting nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 cases

just today, and a number of athletes have had to pull out of the games because of positive tests. Still, officials are pressing on, U.S. first

lady Jill Biden has arrived in Tokyo to lead her nation's diplomatic delegation. And this scandal. Today, Olympics officials announced the

opening ceremony show director is out because of anti-Semitic comments that he made in 1998 as part of a comedy routine.

Let's get through all of this with CNN's Selina Wang live for us in Tokyo. Selina, these Olympics were already embattled before the opening ceremony

and now this. Another setback for these games.

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Cyril. As if the COVID-19 pandemic wasn't enough of a challenge, this opening ceremony has been hit by scandal

after scandal. Just a day before the opening ceremony, the director is fired for mocking the holocaust, and this comes just days after the music

composer of the opening ceremonies resigned after interviews surfaced from the 1990s in which he was describing severe abuse and torment of his

classmates with disabilities back when he was a student.

And on top of that, Cyril, just months ago, months before the former creative director of the games also stepping down after comments surfaced

that he was being offensive to a Japanese celebrity in Japan. Now, this is obviously not a great start for what is supposed to be a ceremony of hope

and unity. And we know already that these opening ceremonies are going to be scaled down, mostly empty stands, only 950 VIPs and dignitaries allowed

in a national stadium that seats 68,000 people including Jill Biden who will be there wearing a mask and socially distanced.

VANIER: Yes, and that's the danger for the host countries when they're in this global spotlight. Any warts are then exposed and beamed on to the

international stage. Meanwhile, every day, Selina, more athletes are forced to drop out because they test positive for COVID. Do you get the sense from

organizers that this is -- this is all OK, it's how it's supposed to work or is there starting to be concern that this whole thing could be going off

the rails already?

WANG: Right, Cyril, now we're up to at least 20 athletes who are out of the games, have had their Olympic dreams derailed because of COVID-19, and now

more than 90 COVID-19 cases in Japan linked to the Olympic games. Officials are repeating however that, they were expecting this number of COVID-19

cases, and the fact that they're catching them means that their systems are working. The regular testing, contact-tracing, layers of COVID-19

prevention. But it's just devastating for athletes, Cyril.

The stories that are coming out. The heartbreak, including the Czech Olympic team that is dealing with the cluster outbreak, including a beach

volleyball player on the team who said she is heartbroken after traveling all the way to Tokyo, going through all the protocols, following all the

rules only to have the pinnacle of her career now just gone.

She said her and her teammate were crying and swearing and crying more, and she can't believe that this has happened, and she calls it a nightmare.

VANIER: Yes, you absolutely have to feel for them. Selina Wang reporting from Tokyo. Thank you so much. In all of this controversy and COVID has

taken the focus off what should have been the real story, the remarkable athletes who are all competing in the games.


So, let's talk to one of them. U.S. triple jumper Tori Franklin is heading to Tokyo. She just wrote a great essay. I can't stress it enough. Tori, I

really did enjoy your essay in which she pulls back the curtain describing all the mental work, the mental preparation that goes into being an

Olympian. First of all, Tori, how are you doing?

TORI FRANKLIN, U.S. TRIPLE JUMPER: I'm doing so good. Thank you so much for having me.

VANIER: Yes, it's a real pleasure to have you on the show. You fly out to Tokyo, when, Saturday?

FRANKLIN: I leave Saturday morning, yes.

VANIER: So, how are you handling all of this COVID disruption? Because, you know, what's specific about the Olympic games is you have years to qualify

and prepare and look forward to this, and now all of this and you know, it's a well-oiled machine, and now all of this is kind of being a little

railroaded by COVID. And there are the protocols, of course, there are the athletes testing positive, there's the no fans, there's all the caution you

have to take. How do you prepare for that?

FRANKLIN: My biggest thing is just trying to be adaptable. The people who can adapt to all of the changes are the ones who are going to be able to

make it all the way to the finals and hopefully to the podium. So, I'm just focused on the goal and trying to dot my "I"s and cross my "T"s, making

sure I'm doing everything I need to do so that I can get there and compete.

VANIER: Is it changing anything to your preparation?

FRANKLIN: Yes, mostly -- well, practicing-wise, not so much, but just making sure that I'm taking all of the COVID tests when I'm supposed to be

taking them, getting all the paperwork in on time. That's a lot more that I wasn't necessarily expecting to have to do.

VANIER: Are you afraid that it could impact performance? We saw -- I'm a basketball fan and saw it in the NBA Playoffs last year. People with

players -- we're in the bubble, and some of them just played poorly and they said afterwards, I basically couldn't take the bubble.

FRANKLIN: For me personally, I don't think it will affect my performance too much because I'm preparing mentally for it. I think that that's going

to be one of the biggest advancements -- or for me because I'm going to be able to prepare for that in any way that I can.

VANIER: So, OK -- so in that case, I want to talk about that post -- and I'm just looking for the exact quote that you put up on Medium. "I would

really recommend, encourage anybody to read it because it's just -- I think it's relevant not just in the realm of sports, but in the realm of

performance. Any performance-type of endeavor generally. And so, you write this. You talk about this aggressive energy that you used to have when you

started in this sport. Quote, "this was my beast self. An uncivilized, irrational animal. The self that didn't give a damn what people thought.

The self that was free from doubt, shame or incompetence."

And then you explained, Tori, that you lost that energy. Tell us that story.

FRANKLIN: Yes, that was something that I thought I needed to feel ready to compete. And throughout the pandemic, I kind of had a spiritual and mental

shift. And that same type of like aggression, that same type of ego that needed acknowledgment and all of these other things just kind of started to

subside. And when I began competing again in 2021, that same energy that I used to have wasn't there. And so, I tried to force it. And I eventually

realized --

VANIER: So, you felt the motor --


VANIER: Wasn't there, am I right?

FRANKLIN: Yes, that, rah! You know, that --

VANIER: Yes --

FRANKLIN: Wasn't there so much naturally.

VANIER: How do you -- but -- so, how do you bottle that -- I mean, how did you overcome that? How did you bottle that? How do you access it when you

need to or have you just moved on to a different mental space?

FRANKLIN: I think it's kind of a mix of both, being able to access it when I need to, and also I have moved on to a different mental space where you

can't try to force yourself to feel or be a certain way. You have to acknowledge where you are in that moment and get your energy from there.

And for me being on the runway, I know that. My body is physically ready to compete in any given time. It's just a matter of my mind being able to

harness all that I have learned and all that I have been trained to do.

VANIER: Do you have a routine to get yourself into the groove? You described that before you used to have your playlist -- I think a lot of

people, you know, even just people who go to the gym can relate to that. What do you do now?

FRANKLIN: I still have a playlist, but I just have different songs on it. I kind of have like phases when I get ready. So, I'll listen to things that

are more happy and bouncy just to kind of get me in a good mood, and then I'll listen to more spiritual things that remind me of my divinity and

connection to everything, and then towards the end, I'll listen to a couple of songs that bring out a little bit of that beast, you know what I'm

saying, and then get going.


VANIER: All right, well, look, when is your first event by the way? You fly in two days, but when is the first event when we can watch you?

FRANKLIN: July 30th.

VANIER: July 30th --

FRANKLIN: And then the final is on August something.

VANIER: Sorry, what was that? I missed the date. Final?

FRANKLIN: Sorry, the final is on August 1st.

VANIER: All right, fantastic. Look, I'm rooting for now, now that I've read your piece, you know, I wasn't familiar with this particular sport, but I'm

really, I'm rooting for you now, so I'll try to catch it on TV. Thank you so much for making the time and talking to us today. U.S. Olympian --

FRANKLIN: Thank you so much --

VANIER: Tori Franklin. Appreciate it. And China has signaled that it will not welcome back international researchers to study the origins of the

pandemic. Beijing has rejected a proposal from the World Health Organization to conduct a follow-up investigation like the one from

February seen here. A Chinese official dismissed the plan because it would examine, amongst others, the theory that the virus leaked from a lab in

Wuhan, China.


ZENG YIXIN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CHINESE NATIONAL HEALTH COMMISSION (through translator): In some aspects, the World Health Organization's plan for the

next phase of investigation of the coronavirus origin doesn't respect common sense, and it's against science. It's impossible for us to accept

such a plan. Origin study is a science matter and the Chinese government supports origin studies based on science. But we oppose politicizing origin



VANIER: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has been following this from the beginning. Nick, I don't know how surprised you are by China's reaction to this. Does

that kill the new investigation then if China won't cooperate?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Essentially yes, it does put an end to the W.H.O. investigation into the origins of the

coronavirus as it is inside of China. Now, despite the Chinese sort of presenting their first report as something of an end of the matter, there

was clearly a lot more that the investigators wanted to do. They wanted to go back, look at the raw data in hospitals in China from October, November

2019. The possible signs of the earliest emergence of the disease. Work out where that happened, when that happened, who that happened to.

To get a better handle on exactly how this got into humans in the first place, the ultimate question a lot of the time frankly, given the damage

coronavirus has done to our planet already and the people living on it. They also wanted to get that raw data because all they've received so far

from the Chinese was, in fact, that data processed were analyzed by Chinese officials and presented to them. So, it was vitally important and also to a

lot of more rhetoric we've heard from the W.H.O. head talking about the lab leak theory. It's something that suggests the coronavirus emerged from a

leak in a laboratory in China, but there's no evidence that we have publicly to confirm that. It's conjecture. Possibly based on intelligence

nobody has seen yet.

Maybe supposition based on some of the illnesses it seems, not quite sure what it was suffered by staff at a laboratory in Wuhan, according to

American Intelligence reports. But a lot of questions remain unanswered. The Chinese statement today from the deputy head of the National Health

Commission from senior figures in the laboratory system in Wuhan said that it will be impossible for this next stage to occur -- said that it doesn't

respect common sense, the W.H.O. plan, and said it was against science.

Pretty much a red line, frankly, there from China. One that will allow critics of China to continue saying fairly, frankly, that China has not

been transparent in how it's presented what it knows about the origins of the coronavirus, and one to which will focus attention now on the next

possible moment of clarity we may have in this, which is the Biden administration's review of what its intelligence -- what Intelligence

assessment it has about the origins of the virus. That's due mid-August. That may still be inconclusive.

The point, Cyril, about all of this is not really whether China is naughty, I mean, clearly, they have not been telling everybody in clarity what it is

that they know. The point is, humanity needs to understand exactly where this virus emerged from so we can stop it from happening again. And the

news today, while many will say it's expected and the fundamental consequence of China's state system and the lack of transparency it exists

by this particular decision -- and this is an enormous feat of diplomacy that bridges the gap between the W.H.O. and China's very hard-line stance

here means the end of a lot of that investigation. The answer lies, it seems, in China and it looks like we're not going to get it. Cyril?

VANIER: It means we will likely never be able to either confirm or rule out the lab leak theory. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much for joining us on

the show. Now, from the investigation to the cases, Israel's coronavirus taskforce is recommending that access to large events be restricted again

amid a spike in new cases fueled by the Delta variant. The government is expected to consider the measure on Sunday. CNN's Hadas Gold has more from

Tel Aviv.



HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty six thousand fans flooded into Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv this week to see legends from

Real Madrid and Barcelona on the field. The excitement and revelry overshadowing an underlying possibility that such a crowded event could

lead to a spike in coronavirus cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Ronaldinho and Figo and everyone, you can't stay at home. But here, we are protected now, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm kind of nervous, but I'm trying to live my life as much as possible before it really hits. It is worth the risk, I think, but,

yes, the government should not let people do this, but I think it is worth the risk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to see Barcelona against Real Madrid. Great players. I am a little nervous, but the game is more important.

GOLD: Thanks to an aggressive vaccination campaign, the Israeli government had lifted almost all of its COVID restrictions. But after nearly three

months of fewer than 200 positive cases a day, the Delta variant now causing a new spike in cases, including some of the vaccinated. For the

first time in months, the daily average nearing 1,000 cases a day. But with about 65 percent of the population either vaccinated or having recovered

from the disease, Professor Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute says there is good news.

ERAN SEGAL, PROFESSOR, WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE: Primary difference is that we are seeing a much lower conversion rate from cases to severely ill.

We are also seeing that those who become severely ill are less in a critical condition as compared to the third wave. All of that means that it

will require a much larger number of cases to happen here in order for us to again fill up the hospitals, and I think that makes it for a very

realistic possibility that this wave will be stopped through another increase of more people that we can get vaccinated, potentially a third

booster and some very small measures like the green badge.

GOLD: A key to stopping this fourth wave, Sagel says is vaccinating the 13 percent of the Israeli population that is eligible but still hasn't

received a shot. But even that alone won't be enough, according to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

NAFTALI BENNETT, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL (through translator): The main line is that we expect the citizens of Israel to go get vaccinated because the

vaccines work. Are they perfect? No. Against the Delta mutation, they alone are not enough. This is the problem. However, vaccines together with masks

alongside responsible behavior, that works.

GOLD: The government says it is now clamping down on restrictions. Police issuing fines for those who failed to wear masks indoors and criminally

charging people who test positive but flout quarantine rules. All as part of an effort to keep the worst of this new wave at bay, so that stadiums

like this won't once again stand empty for months.

(on camera): The Israeli government is trying to avoid the sort of strict lockdowns that dominated the past year and a half, allowing a sense of

normalcy to continue with games like this one. On August 1st, the French Super Cup is expected to take place at this stadium and Israelis are hoping

that the case numbers don't rise so high that the game is called off. Hadas Gold, CNN, Tel Aviv.


VANIER: British stores are warning of supply shortages after many of their workers were told to stay home. And it's all because of this dreaded

message. If you are here in this country and you see this message, it means stay home because you have been pinged. More than 600,000 people in England

and Wales last week were pinged. It came from the government's contact- tracing app which asked people to self-isolate after being close to someone with COVID. But businesses say the policy has gone too far. So, here's the

good news. Anna Stewart is with us live to explain all this. Anna, before this conversation is even over, your phone or mine could ping either one of

us and we'd be required to go home. And this is happening to a lot of people and businesses.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: And it's the message you dread. And frankly so, alerted, I don't fancy my chances out and about in London right now, given

over 600,000 people received that ping just in one week in England and Wales, and look how quickly, how fast COVID cases are rising despite great

success on the vaccine front in the U.K. The businesses, this is a major problem, not least is this -- does actually only come a few days after the

so-called freedom day in England, restrictions were also lifted in Scotland and Wales.

Businesses were hoping for a great recovery. Now, they are facing major staff shortages as a result of the pings. Whether it's a small business

like the cafe near my house where they had to close for several days, none of the staff have COVID, but they were pinged by the app or supermarkets.

And it's here, really, where we're seeing it most visibly. Social media has been awash with photos of empty shelves, and funny enough, we actually went

in to this Tesco between live to get some cold water. There isn't any. They're pretty low on fresh fruit and veg as well, and it was the case in

two other supermarkets we went to.

And we've spoken to Little, to Co-op, to Tesco, and they say this is a result of staff in the shops, staff in the warehouses and truck drivers all

having to self-isolate as a result of the contact-tracing app.


And Cyril, it could get worse just to give you the good news. And that's because there's so much attention now on the shortages that some

supermarkets are seeing, some people may well stockpile. And we could go back to the dark days of the beginning of lockdown, one in the U.K. where

you can't get any new role. Cyril?

VANIER: So, what's happening in a sense is we have a contact-tracing app that's working a little bit too well. It's a little bit too sensitive, and

by the way, you decided to treat that news by actually spending your day in supermarkets. Good luck to you. What can businesses actually do about it?

STEWART: I think you make a really good point on the fact that the app is working, and that is a really big problem right now in terms of the rate of

the virus despite the vaccine. So it is working well. Businesses, though, particularly the business associations we've spoken to, either want to see

their sector exempt for instance in retailers or meat processing plants or HGV drivers. And actually the CBI, the Confederation of Business Industry

just wants the government to bring forward the plan they do have that at the end of August, on the second half of August, they will replace the

contact self-isolation instead with just testing if you have had both vaccines.

So that is in the works. They won't have to be brought forward. Speaking though to people here on the streets of London, Cyril, about this contact-

tracing app and whether or not they would self-isolate if it told them to because it's not actually legally-binding, there was some despondency. Take

a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of it is voluntary. So even if you get the notice to isolate, it's almost voluntary. I mean, it's not like they're

going to re-check on you after they ping you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I don't see it being effective, to be honest, because even when people do get messages that people don't -- you know,

they don't isolate anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I know a few people that do abide by it, but apart from that, I don't see why -- I mean, if you don't want to, you don't have

to, really, I guess.


STEWART: Which is a bit disheartening and amazing, really, considering the staff shortages we're seeing and not everyone is actually self-isolating

when the app tells them to. Now, nearly 70 percent of the adult population in the U.K. are now fully vaccinated. That is the good news. But COVID

cases keep rising, and those pings keep on coming. Cyril?

VANIER: Anna, the people you spoke to really didn't hold back. And since you're giving us the truth and nothing but the truth, tell me the truth on

this. Did you meet people who told you that they deactivate their Bluetooth so that they won't get pinged when they go into, say, the gym, the

supermarkets and crowded areas? Did you hear that? Because I did.

STEWART: Well, Cyril, not in the people that I spoke to today on camera, but plenty of my friends and my family have deactivated or deleted the app.

Lots of people don't actually trust as to whether it works, and don't believe if they're pinged that they've actually been near someone who has

tested positive. But in terms of transparency, here you go. It is on. Anna, I will, I probably will get pinged now. Thanks Cyril.


VANIER: Anna Stewart reporting live from central London. Thank you so much, always appreciate having you on the show. Still to come tonight, France

changing some security protocols amid a global spyware scandal, we'll have details on that live from Paris when we come back.



VANIER: French President Emmanuel Macron met with his defense council today to discuss a major spyware scandal. An international investigation found

Mr. Macron was one of thousands of potential targets of Pegasus, the cell phone hacking software sold by an Israeli company to governments worldwide.

Let's bring in Jim Bittermann in Paris. Jim, two days after these revelations came out in the French press, can we say with confidence now

whether or not the French president was actually spied on?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, Cyril, we cannot. The fact is that they have this high level defense meeting today,

and that sort of indicated something is up. This defense meeting lasted several hours and, in fact, they talked over this entire affair and exactly

what's happening here, but afterwards, the presidential palace issued a statement and put it all in the conditional and said, if the facts are

true, they obviously are very serious. No certainty at this stage has emerged so caution remains the order of the day. In any case, they're not

saying whether or not they believe the president's phone was hacked.

Later on, however, the government spokesman was cornered as he was going into a pharmacy and he said that -- he added that there were a number of

security protocols that had been re-adjusted and France NFO(ph) radio here is reporting that the president's phone was changed. So clearly, they think

it's a very serious affair. According to this reporting that's been done by the Forbidden Stories Group, more than a thousand French phones were hacked

here in France, and so it's no doubt about it that Macron might have been a part of that.

So is the question whether it's true or not, I don't think we're going to get confirmation of that ever, but in any case it's out there and they did

have this high level meeting today which indicates something definitely been happening.

VANIER: Well, that's interesting. Is it something that they are pursuing to digging into? Because if the president was targeted, of course, that's a

major national security concern.

BITTERMANN: Absolutely. One of the things that you point out is that -- Cyril, is that this software has been around, this Pegasus software has

been around for several years now. In fact, "The New York Times" first did a story on this back in 2017, talking about Pegasus targeting investigation

that was going on against the Mexican government, and the Mexican government believed to use Pegasus to investigate the investigators. In any

case, the government probably should have been aware of this sort of thing, being out there, and it's just, I think, the most graphic thing about this

is the number of people involved, 14 heads of state, according to this Forbidden Stories Group.

If that's true, there's a lot of people out there who wants to know more, especially people like -- for example, the governments that are involved.

And for the French government, one of the people that supposedly involved is the government of Morocco. Now, the Moroccan government has denied that

they had anything to do with hacking President Macron's phone, but nonetheless, it is something that's out there and floating around. So still

a little ambiguity here, but it's definitely being investigated at the highest levels.

VANIER: Jim Bittermann reporting live from Paris, thank you very much. And still to come tonight, COVID-19 vaccine inequity is undermining a global

economic recovery. Africa is ground zero in the fight for equality. We're live in Nairobi next.




VANIER: Africa is taking a small step forward in its fight against COVID- 19. But the World Health Organization warns against ignoring a much bigger picture.

After eight consecutive weeks, the WHO says cases are dropping sharply in South Africa, the continent's current epicenter. But new infections are

rising in other African countries, with some seeing an increase of more than 20 percent in the last two weeks.

The biggest problem hampering Africa's recovery right now is a critical shortage of vaccines. And according to a new report, that inequity will

undermine a, quote, "truly global economic recovery."

For CNN's Larry Madowo, this has all become very personal. He's in Nairobi.

Larry, your family was hit by tragedy and that has caused you to reflect on how we're fighting this pandemic globally.

Can you share those thoughts and that story with us?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cyril, I have been heartbroken and outraged for so long that I've probably exceeded my capacity for both. And

this is because, back in April, I was already fully vaccinated because I was living in Washington, D.C., where anybody can get a vaccine by walking

into a drugstore, like Boots in the U.K.

I got mine at CVS, though many appointments are at Walgreens. And I came back home here and my elderly relatives did not have vaccines, still do not

have vaccines because Kenya does not have enough vaccines for everybody.

So what that means is that last month, I lost my uncle to COVID. He was only sick for a few days. And now my grandmother has been battling for her

life for the last few weeks on a ventilator.

This is a situation where we're in, in this world, where 12-year olds in the United States can get vaccinated and 96-year olds like my grandmother

here in Kenya don't have access to vaccines, that they could die because of this global inequality that being called vaccine apartheid, it's been

called greed by the head of the World Health Organization.

And a catastrophic moral failure. That for me is a very personal story, no longer just something that I report on. It's something that I've lived

through and it's a pain that my family is currently experiencing.

VANIER: How is this perceived generally where you are, if you're able to get a sense?

Is this perceived as selfishness on the part of the West?

Is this perceived as just a very difficult situation?

How do people look at this?

MADOWO: So people have a feeling of helplessness because they know that the only true protection is getting vaccinated.


MADOWO: Because, in countries like Rwanda, which has very strict enforcement of social distancing and masking guidelines and gathering

restrictions, they are still in a strict lockdown because they just saw so many cases, 60 percent of them of the Delta variant.

There are also some Africans who feel that African governments have failed them. They should have done a better job securing vaccines. And in the

middle of that, we've seen nine straight weeks of gains of cases and increases in cases across the African continent when you take away South


And the continent, according to the World Health Organization, is still not out of the woods. Listen.



absolutely not over. The smallest step forward offers hope and inspiration but must not mask the big picture of Africa.

Many countries are still at peak risk and Africa's unprecedented third wave surged up faster and higher than ever before.


MADOWO: So one of the reality checks is for those watching the Euros recently and seeing the big crowds at the stadium, we're not there yet. The

World Health Organization is saying we can't afford to crowd on beaches or any of that place.

And one of the leading thinkers of this vaccine debate has been Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus (ph), who says a vaccine delayed is a vaccine denied.

For me, the reality has become quite clear that we hear a lot of this mantra, Cyril, that we're in this together. But we're not because there are

Africans dying, who should not be dying if there were more vaccines available for them.

VANIER: And, Larry, I strongly recommend to viewers that they read your story for, where you lay all this out and you have all the facts in

there, particularly galling in the text that you wrote, is the reminder that some vaccines are actually going to waste in rich countries or about

to go to waste in rich countries, when, as you say, as you've told us, in Africa, vaccination rate is just above 1 percent.

Larry Madowo, thanks for sharing that story with us today.

The highly infectious Delta variant is sweeping the globe and driving a staggering surge of new cases across Asia. Indonesia just reported another

record number of single-day deaths but it's far from the only Asian country struggling to contain a devastating outbreak that is threatening to spin

out of control.


VANIER (voice-over): Lockdown in Indonesia: emergency restrictions in place until July 25th. More than 54,000 new cases were reported Wednesday. The

island nation now surpassing India with the most daily infections, as the government struggles to vaccinate its population.

Not surprisingly, the Delta variant will be the dominant strain over the next few months, says the World Health Organization. The highly contagious

strain is already in 124 territories, like in Bangkok.

This was the scene there Tuesday, hundreds of people lining up to get the vaccine at a bus station. No social distancing possible here. Thailand is

facing its worst COVID outbreak so far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Currently South Korea is in the middle of the fourth wave and the outbreak of more than 1,000 patients a

day continues for more than 15 days.

VANIER (voice-over): This is what hospitals in South Korea have been dealing with. It's also their worst outbreak. The government says it may

expand lockdown restrictions in Seoul.

More than 500 flights were canceled at a major airport in Eastern China; 17 cleaning workers tested positive for the virus. The city says it's now on a

soft lockdown as it tests all of its 9 million residents.

Oxygen cylinders are hard to come by in Myanmar. Patients are being turned away at hospitals due to a bed shortage. The ruling junta reporting a steep

rise in cases as the country remains in crisis after February's military coup.

Coronavirus misinformation now a big problem in India. One radio station uses the air waves to raise awareness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The radio really took it on itself to communicate to the community that this is a problem. It's a global problem. There is a lot

of fake news. Do not follow that.

VANIER (voice-over): Getting ahead of the problem, convincing people to get the vaccine just as important as tackling the disease itself.


VANIER: Still to come tonight -- heavy rainfall hits central China with devastating force. Towns are flooded, homes are destroyed and thousands of

people are calling for help. How the government is responding when we come back.





VANIER: At least 33 people have now died from the devastating rainfall hitting Central China. The water has flooded entire neighborhoods, caused

landslides and trapped hundreds of drivers on the road.

Officials say at least eight people are still missing and they fear the number of dead will keep rising as rescue efforts continue. CNN's Anna

Coren reports.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The death toll from the catastrophic flooding in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou continues to rise as

thousands of rescue workers search for the missing, while hundreds of people remain trapped at a highway exit due to the floodwaters.

At least 33 people have died in the floods that swept away cars and people, brought on by a rainstorm described by state media as the worst in the

city's history.

It had been raining since late last week. Almost a year's world of rain fell in a single day on Tuesday, causing extensive flooding in the capital

of Hunan province. One of the hardest-hit areas was a tunnel between two subway stations; 12 people died when their subway car became trapped in

rising floodwaters.

And we're learning more details about what those terrified passengers endured. State media CCTV said the water gushed into the subway cars and

surged to people's shoulders and necks. They were stuck in there for more than three hours, struggling to breathe due to the low oxygen levels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The flood was so strong and many people were carried away by that. The remaining few of us, including a kid,

were so tired. And we nearly gave up. We kept holding on tight to the railing.

And that's why you can see so many bruises on my arms. These are all bruises. This is one, too. This included, too. If you don't hold on tight

to that railing, it's very easy to be washed away.

COREN (voice-over): Hundreds of other people were rescued from underground tunnels in a massive operation. Chinese leader Xi Jinping issued a

statement, calling the situation very severe, ordering authorities to give top priority to people's safety and property.

Other cities in Hunan province have also been affected by the floods. More than 160,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes. A total of 3

million people have been affected by these floods -- Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


VANIER: U.S. President Joe Biden is announcing new sanctions against parts of the Cuban government that he says are responsible for a crackdown on

dissidents after recent anti-government protests.

He says the sanctions are on the head of the Cuban military and the division of the Cuban interior ministry driving the crackdown on

protesters. The statement says this is just the beginning and the U.S. will continue putting sanctions on those, quote, "responsible for oppression of

the Cuban people."

Still to come on the show tonight, the grass is greener on the vaccinated side. Why a new green pass in Italy could put major restrictions on

unvaccinated people.


VANIER: And her smile changed the world but when will the world be able to smile back?

We speak to a travel expert about how tourism can overcome the monumental challenges of COVID-19.




VANIER: We are expecting Italy to officially announce tougher restrictions for unvaccinated people in the country. John Allen is in Rome.

John, is this a way of nudging Italians, maybe forcing Italians to get vaccinated quickly?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SR. VATICAN ANALYST: Cyril, I think it's somewhere between a nudge and a kind of full, forceful shove in that direction.

This comes as Italy is facing a worrying rise in COVID cases. The government announced 5,000 new cases today as opposed to half that just a

week ago. So what's been announced is the introduction of a mandatory green pass for accessing indoor spaces.

For instance, if you want to go out to a restaurant, like the one I'm standing in front of, if you want to eat outside, like some people are

doing -- and it's a beautiful Roman night or coming up on 9:00 here local - - you're fine.

But if you want to eat inside, maybe under the air conditioning, then you need the green pass. Same for going to a sports stadium or a concert hall

or a swimming pool or a gym. Now what counts as a green pass here is either, A, certification that you've been vaccinated; B, a negative COVID

test within the last 48 hours or C, certification that you had COVID but have recovered so you now have the antibodies within the last six months.

And this, of course, is part of a pattern across Europe. Italy is trying to get ahead of the wave, Cyril.

VANIER: So you mentioned it's a pattern across Europe. France is doing something similar and that caused protests just last weekend in many cities

across the country.

How is this likely to go down with Italians then?

ALLEN: Well, look, I think the real concern that most Italians had heading into this, Cyril, was that the government would reimpose travel bans; that

is, restrictions on movements between Italy's various regions. Now that would be very worrying because we're coming up on August.


ALLEN: The vast majority of Italians take their summer vacations in August. They already have their reservations. They've put down deposits. If they

were told they couldn't go, that would be cataclysmic.

Now in comparison, being told you can still go but you're going to face restrictions when you get there, I think that is somewhat more palatable

and as you mentioned, Cyril, obviously the agenda here is try to persuade those Italians who haven't yet been vaccinated -- 50 percent of the country

has received both doses; close to two-thirds has received at least one.

For those who haven't done it yet, it's to get them to do it.

Italy's health minister today was asked, what's the message behind these measures?

He said, it's very simple. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. Get vaccinated - - Cyril.

VANIER: Yes, it's pretty much the same message all across Europe. John Allen, thank you for your reporting.

Issuing guidance on travel's main remains a global challenge for leaders right now. Joe Biden is facing increasing pressure to lift restrictions on

international entry to the U.S. even in the face of concerns about the Delta variant.

While across the Atlantic, back in Europe, Paris has accused the U.K. of being excessive with rules for travelers from France. They will still be

required to quarantine when they arrive in England, even though people from other amber list European countries won't have to.

It's even led Manchester City and French club -- Troyes Football Club, that is -- to cancel a preseason friendly game that was scheduled for July 31st

because of those quarantine rules.

Well, one travel guru knows more than most when it comes to getting in and around Europe. Rick Steves has been hosting "Rick Steves' Europe" for years

and is again extolling the continent's virtues in his latest season.


RICK STEVES, TRAVEL HOST: Hey, I'm Rick Steves. After being locked down for so long, I can't wait to travel again. I've had a year to dream about some

favorite destinations and I've assembled an amazing itinerary to explore together.

I hope you'll be my travel partner on this unforgettable trip to Sicily, Mykonos, England's Cotswolds, Northern Portugal, Tuscany and the remote

corners of Romania. Yes, Europe awaits.


VANIER: Europe may await.

But what about if you're unvaccinated?

Let's ask all those questions to Rick Steves. He joins us now.

Rick, so good to have you on the show.

Are you back in business then?

STEVES: Not really. We're still waiting for things to open up.

VANIER: All right. I'm disappointed. Well, Europe is reopening to foreign travel, especially for American tourists.

When are you going back?

STEVES: Well, I'm hoping to go back with our tour program in 2022. You know, we don't know; it's so hard to predict where this is going. But I

think it's really an issue of vaccinations and Europe is getting serious about it.

I think the United States is going to get serious about it when people realize their world is smaller if they don't have a vaccination. So

assuming we can continue this trajectory, I am hoping but nobody knows for sure that we'll have essential normalcy for European travel from the United

States by early 2022.

VANIER: You can come before that. I can see the picture that we just saw of you getting vaccinated with your passport. If you're vaccinated, the

European travel pass allows you to come in as an American traveler.

Why don't you come this summer?

STEVES: You know, we can travel as individuals and, you know, I am contemplating a trip to take a hike up in the Alps but my personal thoughts

on that are changing with the news.

But as a tour organizer, we're really all about experiences. And I don't fly all the way to Europe to sit in a bubble in Amsterdam, so I don't get

somebody's germs. For me, it's the opposite of social distancing. When I go to Paris, I want to --




VANIER: This is the heart of what I wanted to ask you then. You travel for experiences.

Do you expect the experiences to come back?

Do you expect things to be the same?

STEVES: Yes, I do. I think that there may be some residual benefits of this whole experience. I mean, Asia learned the value of masks after SARS. And

maybe the world is going to learn the common sense of wearing masks on occasion, when necessary, you know, after COVID.

But I think the essence of traveling, once we get herd immunity, will be the same. For a tour organizer like me, it's a big responsibility to take

25 people on a bus and all-around Europe. And, you know, if you can't cross borders, as if there are no borders, frankly, I don't want to go there yet.

So, we're holding back on our tours until the spring of 2022.


VANIER: So, Rick, let me jump in for a second because I want to share -- I want to share with our viewers what your tours are like. You're known to

like a crowd or two when you go to Europe. I think we can show you at the Vatican Museum.


VANIER: That's just unimaginable today.


VANIER: If that's what you want to travel to Europe for, you can't do that.


STEVES: No, in fact, that show that you ran a clip from, "Europe Awaits," is talking about ways post-COVID we might travel with a little more

thoughtfulness and not all just having -- you know, we have a herd mentality long before we've got herd immunity. We all seem to go to the

same places to get our social media selfies and so on.

And there's a lot of Europe that don't -- doesn't have those kinds of crowds. There's a lot of Europe where you can get close to nature. There

are a lot of wonderful places that see no crowds at all.

So, we have a choice going forward. And I think Europe will moderate the density of the people they let into Anne Frank's house or up the Eiffel

Tower or into the Sistine Chapel. And we travelers can choose to travel elsewhere.

For me, the whole idea is to have experiences, to learn, to get out of our comfort zone, to broaden our perspectives and to do it safely. And I would

-- while I'm so passionate about having these experiences, again, as a tour organizer, I would never compromise health or safety in order to do that.

That's why, you know, we took 30,000 people to Europe in 2019; nobody in the last two years and, in 2022, God willing, if everything continues on

the trajectory that we hope it will, we will be able to travel with certain safeguards and taking full support of local conditions and expectations.

I think we should be able to travel around Europe as we dream of doing.

VANIER: You know, I'm looking at the footage of those pictures that we're showing of you and your past travel experiences, whether it's Pamplona, the

running of the bulls, whether it's in Austria or Germany, the other ones that we saw.

It just seems insane when you watch that in 2021 to think that that was normal. I mean, I'm actually almost getting anxiety from just watching it.

STEVES: It really does. I know the feeling. We're all coming out of our protective cocoons. And patience is important and, of course, the diligence

and community spirit of getting our vaccine is important.

VANIER: I'm going to have to run but I want to know your favorite travel experience or place in Europe before we go.

STEVES: Well, I've got so many favorites but one thing I'm dreaming of when I go back, I would love to go on a barge cruise down the canal in Burgundy.

I've got a lot of work I need to do when I get back. I've got to update all my guidebooks after COVID-19. But I want to float on that canal in


VANIER: All right. Burgundy it is.

Thank you so much for joining us. It was a pleasure to end the show with you today. Have a great day, Steve.

And thank you for watching us tonight. Stay with CNN. We've got QUEST MEANS BUSINESS up next.